September 3, 2013
In June we informed you in our Global Brief about the drafts for the new Exit and Entry Administrative Law that were published for public comments. The new law was initially supposed to be implemented on July 1, 2013. However, the State Council delayed its implementation to September 1, 2013 and published new official regulations that differ somewhat from the initial drafts. Most notable are the changes in visa categories compared to the draft regulations:
- The drafts defined the F-visa category as to apply to business visitors engaged in non-commercial activities, including science, education, culture, health and sports. The official regulations now define the F-visa to be for persons engaging in cultural or academic exchanges, visits, and inspections in China.
- The new M-category has been defined as to apply for persons who will engage in business or commercial activities;
- The drafts mentioned a separation of the old Z-visa category in two categories, one for long term foreign employees (more than 90 days) and one for short term foreign employees. The new law has not implemented this division and only includes one Z-visa category for general employment in China.
- While the drafts suggested the introduction of 2 new separate visa categories for short term and long term residence to attract foreigners with exceptional, specialized or shortage-occupation skills, the final regulations only include one new R-visa, defined as being available for highly skilled foreign workers in shortage occupations, as defined by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.
Finally, please note that accompanying dependents will now need to apply for the newly-announced S1-visa category in order to enter China before beginning their residence permit process.
As we advised before, companies who have any plans, or are in the process, of bringing foreigners to China for either business or work purposes are advised to contact their Pro-Link GLOBAL Immigration Specialist in China for advice on the appropriate type of visa to use and for other details on how the new law is expected to affect them. HR should be aware that the implementation of a new law often results in some initial delays, while the immigration officials are getting used to the new process. Additional changes to new regulations and changing requirements and processing times are also not uncommon during the implementation phase of a new immigration law. Your Pro-Link GLOBAL Immigration Specialist will guide you through this new process and is available to you to address any questions or concerns you might have.